The Lion King (2019)

Robert Crawford

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A lot of movies make the 'big bucks' at the box office. Doesn't necessarily make them classics, though.
What do classics have anything to do with it? Furthermore, young children that will eventually grow up will determine whether this film becomes such a thing, not some adults trying to place a label on this film right now.
 
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Nick*Z

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Okay, I went to a morning showing to find out for myself and I don't agree with the level of criticism this film has received here. It's longer than I want it to be, but other than that, I thought the film was fine. I watched it in a Dolby Atmos theater so I enjoyed the music and soundtrack quite a bit.
I saw it too. Too long and a retread - plain and simple - and sadly, where none was required. The original Lion King is The Lion King. This is just the remake. No staying power. No originality. No point to be made - except, money, of course, which today, tragically, has become the arbitrator of 'good taste'. If it sells, make more. In generations yet to follow the dearth of creativity that has afflicted all American-made cinema since roughly 2010 will become more apparent. But by then the damage to the art and craft of Hollywood film-making may be too far gone to correct.

Read your Plato. Simulacrum begets simulacrum until only copies of copies are made and no original thought is capable or even aspired to. We're very close to that fatal epoch and tipping point in the picture-making biz, if you ask me.
 
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TJPC

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What do classics have anything to do with it? Furthermore, young children that will eventually grow up will determine whether this film becomes such a thing, not some adults trying to place a label on this film right now.
This is basically my point!
 

Robert Crawford

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We're very close to that fatal epoch and tipping point in the picture-making biz, if you ask me.
I've been reading that same line for decades now about Hollywood. Hollywood has always been about making money and all of that other stuff about being creative for the art is just a bunch of frivolous words certain people like to espouse about.
 

Nick*Z

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What do classics have anything to do with it? Furthermore, young children that will eventually grow up will determine whether this film becomes such a thing, not some adults trying to place a label on this film right now.
The fact that you have to ask why the status of a 'classic' needs to be the aspiration of film-makers today, rather than number-crunching in the moment to see if the money clicks at the box office, is precisely the reason why movies today are being remade at an alarming rate. There was a time when remakes were made of movies that were at least half a century old, and usually with the aspiration to improve upon a movie that had potential, but somehow failed to fully achieve it the first time around. Or, to take a drama or a comedy, as example, and turn it into a musical. Shot for shot verbatim remakes are just a wasteful expenditure of time, effort and money with the built-in guarantee that more money will likely be made if the public gets what they already know. That philosophy is recently ensconced in the picture-making biz. The 90's at Disney Inc. were a renaissance. The 2010's and beyond are nothing more than a regurgitation of the renaissance, with a pillaging of Walt's outright classics on the side. The good news here, I suspect, is that at this rate, Disney Inc. is running out of animated classics to remake as life-action movies. So, where will the company go from there? It will be interesting to see. Yes, very interesting indeed!
 

Robert Crawford

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It's only movies! Some of you take this much too seriously. You think Mayer, Thalberg and the rest of the Hollywood studio heads knew they were making classics? Of course they didn't, they were simply making movies to entertain the masses and to make profits while doing so.
 
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Tommy R

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The only reason I haven’t seen this movie is because I wasn’t ever the biggest fan of the original. I HAVE enjoyed the Disney remakes they have done that I have seen, though, so I don’t see anything different about this one regarding whether it deserves to exist or not. If it put a smile on the faces of millions of five year old across the world, then I say it served its purpose.
 
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Nick*Z

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It's only movies! Some of you take this much too seriously. You think Mayer, Thalberg and the rest of the Hollywood studio heads knew they were making classics? Of course they didn't, they were simply making movies to entertain the masses and to make profits while doing so.
No kidding, the ole boys were in it for the bucks. But you know what? They took risks too. They gambled on movies for 'prestige', especially when they had a director like a Minnelli or Cukor who was passionate about the work.

Commerce and art have always intermingled. I am not one of those who 'espouse frivolous words' merely to read them in print here. But if you think 'art' was never any consideration at all, think again.

The moguls, flaws and all, money-driven as they were, were in a race against one another to produce 'better' movies to beat out the competition. They were as much driven by ego as profit. So, Mayer wanted to be the biggest and brightest studio in Hollywood. Selznick wanted to be his own man. Zanuck left WB because he felt they didn't understand what good story-telling was and migrated his drive and convictions over to Fox.

And Walt Disney...well, he gambled against his own life insurance policy to produce a Snow White. Tell me, what overseer at Uncle Walt's magic kingdom today would do half as much if he had another great idea on the horizon he wanted to explore?!? Disney's Folly was the way most critics described Snow White before its premiere. After its premiere the naysayers were falling over themselves with praise and accolades. Gone With The Wind was described as a fool-hardy exercise by radio commentator, Jimmy Fidler who claimed that to gamble $2-4 million on a single picture would be the industry's undoing. Wrong! But who today would gamble the 'inflated' equivalent on another picture with the same potential to either succeed beyond our wildest dreams or implode like Cimino's Heaven's Gate?

Taking Zanuck as a prime example: his pursuit of perfection, with 'personalized' projects is proof that he took the craft of picture-making seriously and well beyond mere profit. Yes, he wanted to be recognized for the work with a show of ticket sales at the box office. But he counterbalanced the pictures that made money for Fox (Betty Grable/June Haver/Alice Faye musicals), with stories he firmly believed were worth telling; hopefully, to find their audience too.

So, we get movies like Wilson, and, Forever Amber. Or at MGM, we get experiments like Yolanda and the Thief and The Pirate.

And while NONE of these made back their production costs, they contributed to the body of each studio's work that, at least today, stands as testaments to the daring of the men seated on the thrones.

Zanuck, again, wanted to be recognized as a truly outstanding and story-driven film-maker. Sure, he wanted money. But he also wanted respect. What's missing from Hollywood today is that passion for the work. The bean counters in the front offices look at every movie exclusively through spread sheets and profit margins. So, playing it safe is better than taking a gamble. Art isn't considered. Money is paramount.

It's a shabby and very myopic way to approach the picture-making biz. And the proof is in what's been coming out lately from Hollywood. Nothing that speaks to the hallmarks of bright young minds with a fervent desire to tell their stories on celluloid.

Finally, your comment about 'it's only movies' is moot! Hitchcock famously told Ingrid Bergman as much during the filming of Notorious when she was overthinking a scene. But Hitchcock was deadly serious about his craft. Perhaps he though Bergman's contemplation 'frivolous'. The movie, he labored on with the precision of a brain surgeon removing a deadly tumor. The results - a great movie for the ages.

Movies were once considered the red-headed step child of the arts - not as good as the legitimate stage - and not nearly as good as novels. But the moguls, with decades of copiously researched and meticulously produced 'art' - proved the movies could stand their own as a true 'art form' for the 20th century. The 21st century seems rather satisfied rarely to aspire to overcome this stigma. It's okay to be mediocre. But to quote Gregory Peck in his acceptance speech from the AFI, “I’d like to hear some glamorous talk about the quality of work. Imagination is the priceless resource, and it’s going undervalued." In the intervening decades, it's been very tough indeed to argue with that assessment! Very tough indeed.
 
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Robert Crawford

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I'll let you have the last word as I made my point and the film status of this version of "The Lion King" remains to be determine by people much younger than us in the years to come.
 

Josh Steinberg

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More like 55% when you compare the Fri-Sun numbers which is more telling. That’s a very good hold.
Yeah, it's not reasonable to expect the holds that we'd see in years past (even going back just a few years) in an era when moviegoers are being conditioned to see a new release film as closely as possible to the moment that it opens. Throw in that once the opening weekend is over and now we're on a 2-3 month countdown to when the film will be available for home viewing, and there's very little reason for most films to be able to hold on much longer than a few weeks.
 

TJPC

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No kidding, the ole boys were in it for the bucks. But you know what? They took risks too. They gambled on movies for 'prestige', especially when they had a director like a Minnelli or Cukor who was passionate about the work.

Commerce and art have always intermingled. I am not one of those who 'espouse frivolous words' merely to read them in print here. But if you think 'art' was never any consideration at all, think again.

The moguls, flaws and all, money-driven as they were, were in a race against one another to produce 'better' movies to beat out the competition. They were as much driven by ego as profit. So, Mayer wanted to be the biggest and brightest studio in Hollywood. Selznick wanted to be his own man. Zanuck left WB because he felt they didn't understand what good story-telling was and migrated his drive and convictions over to Fox.

And Walt Disney...well, he gambled against his own life insurance policy to produce a Snow White. Tell me, what overseer at Uncle Walt's magic kingdom today would do half as much if he had another great idea on the horizon he wanted to explore?!? Disney's Folly was the way most critics described Snow White before its premiere. After its premiere the naysayers were falling over themselves with praise and accolades. Gone With The Wind was described as a fool-hardy exercise by radio commentator, Jimmy Fidler who claimed that to gamble $2-4 million on a single picture would be the industry's undoing. Wrong! But who today would gamble the 'inflated' equivalent on another picture with the same potential to either succeed beyond our wildest dreams or implode like Cimino's Heaven's Gate?

Taking Zanuck as a prime example: his pursuit of perfection, with 'personalized' projects is proof that he took the craft of picture-making seriously and well beyond mere profit. Yes, he wanted to be recognized for the work with a show of ticket sales at the box office. But he counterbalanced the pictures that made money for Fox (Betty Grable/June Haver/Alice Faye musicals), with stories he firmly believed were worth telling; hopefully, to find their audience too.

So, we get movies like Wilson, and, Forever Amber. Or at MGM, we get experiments like Yolanda and the Thief and The Pirate.

And while NONE of these made back their production costs, they contributed to the body of each studio's work that, at least today, stands as testaments to the daring of the men seated on the thrones.

Zanuck, again, wanted to be recognized as a truly outstanding and story-driven film-maker. Sure, he wanted money. But he also wanted respect. What's missing from Hollywood today is that passion for the work. The bean counters in the front offices look at every movie exclusively through spread sheets and profit margins. So, playing it safe is better than taking a gamble. Art isn't considered. Money is paramount.

It's a shabby and very myopic way to approach the picture-making biz. And the proof is in what's been coming out lately from Hollywood. Nothing that speaks to the hallmarks of bright young minds with a fervent desire to tell their stories on celluloid.

Finally, your comment about 'it's only movies' is moot! Hitchcock famously told Ingrid Bergman as much during the filming of Notorious when she was overthinking a scene. But Hitchcock was deadly serious about his craft. Perhaps he though Bergman's contemplation 'frivolous'. The movie, he labored on with the precision of a brain surgeon removing a deadly tumor. The results - a great movie for the ages.

Movies were once considered the red-headed step child of the arts - not as good as the legitimate stage - and not nearly as good as novels. But the moguls, with decades of copiously researched and meticulously produced 'art' - proved the movies could stand their own as a true 'art form' for the 20th century. The 21st century seems rather satisfied rarely to aspire to overcome this stigma. It's okay to be mediocre. But to quote Gregory Peck in his acceptance speech from the AFI, “I’d like to hear some glamorous talk about the quality of work. Imagination is the priceless resource, and it’s going undervalued." In the intervening decades, it's been very tough indeed to argue with that assessment! Very tough indeed.
When one studio turned out hundreds of movies a year, it was much easier to gamble on one expensive artistic picture which probably might lose money when you could make it all back with dozens of inexpensive ones like the “Andy Hardy” series.
 
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Tino

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Yeah, it's not reasonable to expect the holds that we'd see in years past (even going back just a few years) in an era when moviegoers are being conditioned to see a new release film as closely as possible to the moment that it opens. Throw in that once the opening weekend is over and now we're on a 2-3 month countdown to when the film will be available for home viewing, and there's very little reason for most films to be able to hold on much longer than a few weeks.
Yah. I remember when the Chronicles Of Riddick dropped 40% in its second weekend and people were flipping out how bad that was. Boy have times changed.
 

MatthewA

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It would've been interesting to attempt an essentially silent version of "Lion King", one that tries to act out the story in a more realistic way.

Not one that adheres entirely to how animals really behave, but one without songs or dialogue and one that tries to tell the tale in a manner that better fits the photoreal creatures...
That almost sounds like the original Incredible Journey from 1963. That got remade with celebrity voice-overs as Homeward Bound around the time the original Lion King came out. The current wave of remakes isn't that current, it's just that now they want to go after the greatest hits instead of the deep cuts.
 

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The good news here, I suspect, is that at this rate, Disney Inc. is running out of animated classics to remake as life-action movies.
Please, they’ve got plenty of movies to remake. They can start in on the b and c rated animated movies and the direct to video stuff. Go after Pixar movies. Wouldn’t you love to see A Bug’s Life with realistic looking bugs! How about Wall-E with real fat people!
 

Nick*Z

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Please, they’ve got plenty of movies to remake. They can start in on the b and c rated animated movies and the direct to video stuff. Go after Pixar movies. Wouldn’t you love to see A Bug’s Life with realistic looking bugs! How about Wall-E with real fat people!
Oh, now I wanna throw up!
 
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Robert Crawford

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For a movie that isn't going to be a classic and according to some people serves little purpose for being made, it sure is taking in a lot of money as it approaches the 1.4B mark worldwide.;) I guess the masses are enjoying the film despite its shortcomings.:)
 

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